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Department of Ica
Nazca Lines: "Dog"
Location of the Ica Region in Peru
|Subdivisions||5 provinces and 43 districts|
|• Governor||Javier Gallegos Barrientos |
|• Total||21,327.83 km2 (8,234.72 sq mi)|
|406 m (1,332 ft)|
|Highest elevation||3,796 m (12,454 ft)|
|Lowest elevation||0 m (0 ft)|
|• Density||40/km2 (100/sq mi)|
|ISO 3166 code||PE-ICA|
|Principal resources||Iron, cotton, grapevine, kidney beans.|
|Percentage of Peru's GDP||2.36%|
Ica (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈika]; Quechua: Ika) is a department and region of Peru. It borders the Pacific Ocean on the west; the Lima Region on the north; the Huancavelica and Ayacucho regions on the east; and the Arequipa Region on the south. Its capital is the city of Ica.
The Department of Ica has a remarkable geography. It is the only region of the southern coast formed by plains, also called coast plains, since the Andean Cordillera rise up inland. Some geological folds have determined the formation of dunes moving toward the sea, which form much of the Paracas Peninsula. Some isolated formations located at the southern part created the Marcona complex, with the biggest deposits of iron in the Pacific coast.
Ica's configuration is due to the geomorphology of its two big and unique fluvial watersheds: the Pasco and Ica rivers. Also, it has a waterway called the Rio Grande, although its waters do not reach the ocean. Some waters are diverted for irrigation and agriculture in the provinces of Palpa, Nazca and Ingenio; the Rio Grande's final riverbed is dry since sand and dried lands absorb its limited resources. There are extensive deserts in Ica, such as the Lancha Pampas. Pozo Santo and Villacuri pampas are extremely hot areas. Strong and persistent winds called paracas are present and stir up large sandstorms.
The Nazca culture, on the contrary, well known for its artistic pottery, in which colorful designs and representations excel over the form, the same as their lines and figures that have undergone implausible interpretations. This culture expanded from the 2nd century BC through the 7th century AD. They have left us their wonderful aqueducts that made good use of underground water, of rivers and rain, showing a great knowledge of hydraulic engineering.
During the independence war, General José de San Martín landed in Paracas and fixed his headquarters in Pisco, to start the fight for the independence of Peru.
The region is divided into five provinces (Spanish: provincias, singular: provincia), which are composed of 43 districts (distritos, singular: distrito).
The provinces, with their capitals in parentheses, are:
Points of interest
City of Ica
Capital of the Ica Department. A very modern clean city that has Peruvian street markets, many old churches and landmarks, modern malls, hotels, coffee shops, theatres, and hotels as well.
Located on the west side of the city of Ica, capital of the Ica Department. One of the most popular places to visit in Ica is La Huacachina. The desert oasis is located 5 km (3.1 mi) from Ica. It is a small lake with medicinal water, lying in the middle of a spectacular sand desert.
Pisco is the most important port in Ica and a litoral province. The most important attractions within this province are likely Paracas, Paracas Bay and the Paracas National Reserve. Pisco was home of an ancient pre-Hispanic culture, Paracas, who are known for their exquisite textiles.
Paracas (a municipality within the Paracas District) is a small town catering to tourism. It serves as the jumping point for tours to Islas Ballestas and to Paracas National Reservation. Paracas Bay, protected by Paracas Peninsula, gives these shallow, warmer waters break from ocean waves permitting life to flourish, particularly near its south western edge encompassed within Paracas National Reserve. The Paracas Museum, also found just near the south western edge of Paracas Bay, provides excellent information about Paracas culture and the many unique species, in particular, the birds of Paracas.
The Ica-Nazca culture flourished along the southern coast of Peru from around 200 BC to 600 AD. This area is extremely dry. The Nazca developed extensive irrigation systems, including underground canals, that allowed them to farm the land. The Nazca are known for their textiles and pottery which feature images of animals and mythological beings.
They are even better known, however, for a unique set of creations known as the Nazca Lines, which are geoglyphs and geometric line clearings in the Atacama desert, in the district of Nazca. On a large, rock-strewn plain, the Nazca made huge drawings by scraping away stones to reveal the lighter soil underneath. The drawings depict various plants and animals, including humans, a monkey, birds, and other creatures, as well as lines and geometric shapes. These drawings are so huge, however, that they can be seen only from the sky. Scientists believe that the Nazca made these drawings for their gods. The area of the Nazca lines is called the Pampa Colorada (red plain).
A small village near Ica, Cachiche is well known for its history of witches. Doña Julia, Cachiche's first witch, was known to practice "good magic," curing and helping villagers with her spells. Near the entrance to the town, a carving from a single huarango tree  depicts this first "bruja de Cachiche" (witch of Cachiche).
- Collier's New Encyclopedia. 1921. .